1 Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5

[Note to the reader: In this chapter Paul talks about some intense, possibly crude, topics – if it may offend or bother you, maybe don’t read this]

A man having sex with his mother (or possibly step-mother). Dude. Eww.

This is the first issue Paul chooses to address. The Greek term is “porneia” which the NRSV translates as “sexual immorality.” Apparently, there is a man who is “living with his father’s wife.” Paul doesn’t tell us who the man is, but focuses on the people of Corinth and their response instead.

It seems that they choose to condemn him and use that to feel superior.
This makes sense to us, because we’ve seen it ourselves.
Have you ever seen someone judge another person to make themselves feel better?

Paul says they should instead be mourning. The man’s actions are a reflection of the entire community and how they failed to properly care for each other. He’s sleeping with his “mom,” which is bad (and a lot bit gross). But instead of feeling like they were better than him – the people of Corinth should be sad that they created an environment where this messed up situation could happen in the first place!

Let’s talk about yeast. If you don’t know what yeast is, go try and bake some bread. Yeast is used to make bread “rise.”…which is how we end up with a loaf instead of a pita. And only a very small amount of yeast is necessary.

Paul uses the imagery of “yeast” to talk about the problem of this man’s immorality. He says we must “clear out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch.” (verse7) Even just a little yeast works on the whole loaf, and in the same way – even just a little nasty immorality affects the entire community.

Now, as Christians we want to try and avoid hanging out with people who will lead us to stumble.
This makes sense to us: if you’re trying to train for a marathon, you’re not going to hang out with the guy who is always offering you doughnuts. Just seems counter-productive.

But Paul recognizes that if you tried to avoid all people who could make us stumble, you’d have to avoid everyone!

But, in the second half of the chapter, Paul is specifically warning Christians against OTHER CHRISTIANS (or at least, people who claim to be Christians) who will lead them to stumble.

Have you ever met someone who claimed to be a “Christian,” but lived a life that was very NOT?
Someone who was the perfect little church-goer, until Monday morning?
Saying you’ll do one thing and then doing the opposite is often referred to as being a “hypocrite.” Unfortunately, there are so many examples in history that some people come to expect it.

Paul is urging the people of Corinth to cast out the hypocrites. Basically, don’t hang out with people who will say they love God and then live a life that doesn’t love God.

Do you love God with your life? How so?
What could you do better?

Copyright © 2018 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to webmaster@dgfumc.org.